Jake Pavelka: Ali Fedotowsky Was in the Lead

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Ali Fedotowsky was Jake Pavelka's leading candidate on The Bachelor before she voluntarily left to pursue a starring role on ABC's The Bachelorette this summer.

Oops, we mean to pursue her career back in "the real world."

In a new interview, Jake repeats his claim that the departed Ali was his "frontrunner" on the program before she was forced to choose between him and her job.

Speaking to ET Online ahead of tonight's Women Tell All special, Jake said of Ali Fedotowsky: "That night, when she left, she was ahead of all the other women."

"I can't tell you if she was going to be The One, but, that night, if somebody had said, 'Gun's to your head. Pick a girl,' it would have been her," the pilot added.

Ready For Takeoff

But, despite her not-at-all staged plea to return to the show approximately 12 minutes later, "we had a long way to go and I forced myself to close that book."

He says he did not invite Ali back when she requested to because he had already moved forward with the three remaining women. Not even a full episode later.

"The transitions from hometowns to exotics, that's where you really start to get intimate with them, and I'd already done that with all three of the women," he said.

Translation: He was getting so much tail in the fantasy suite on last week's episode that it wasn't fair to the other girls he was naked with at the time she called.

It is truly astonishing just how much natural drama and spontaneous plot twists occur absolutely unscripted on The Bachelor. What are the chances of all this?

Career girl Ali has to leave the show for her job ... even though she presumably took time off to go on the show in the first place. All of a sudden it's an issue?

Ali and Ellen

Then - what are the odds - when she returns to her hectic life at home, there's a camera crew there to catch it all and she immediately regrets her decision.

Ali can't even bear to go on ... you can always get a great job, but you can't always find love on a reality TV show with a complete stiff like Jake Pavelka!

She's filled with "anxiety" and "can't focus on work." It's tough, finding the work-life balance. As is scheduling time for all the talk show interviews she's done.

Anyway. Should Ali be the new star of The Bachelorette?

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The Bachelor Quotes

There’s still a lot of growing to do in our relationship. We will not tie the knot until I am mentally and physically prepared as well as Matt.

Shayne Lamas

It was a fairytale proposal like I’ve always dreamed about. I forgot that there [were] cameras around. In that moment, it was just Matt and I and it was the most amazing moment of my entire life.

Shayne Lamas [on proposal by Matt Grant]